Two Chinese nationals jailed for theft on board aircraft

Posed photo of a man in handcuffs. Two Chinese nationals were jailed on Wednesday in separate cases of stealing on board an aircraft last month. -- ST FILE PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN
Posed photo of a man in handcuffs. Two Chinese nationals were jailed on Wednesday in separate cases of stealing on board an aircraft last month. -- ST FILE PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN

Two Chinese nationals were jailed on Wednesday in separate cases of stealing on board an aircraft last month.

Hawker Hu Yunzhi, 45, was sentenced to a year's jail after he admitted to stealing various currencies amounting to $382 from Indonesian businessman Sugianto Tanoto Kusuma, 41, on board a Silkair plane from Medan to Singapore on Nov 19.

In the same court, chef Zhang Jun, 40, was jailed for nine months for stealing a black laptop bag from IT director Mark Ivan Swann, 59, on board a Silkair plane bound for Singapore from Phnom Penh that day.

A magistrate's court heard that cabin crew saw Hu take a Louis Vuitton bag from the overhead baggage compartment above Mr Kusuma's seat. He placed it on an aisle seat nearby and proceeded to rummage through the contents of the bag. He then returned the bag to its original location. Hu, who was seated a few rows behind the victim, sat a few rows from his original seat where he remained until landing. Mr Kusuma was asleep then and did not sense that anything was amiss.

Upon checking through his bag, he discovered $382 in various currencies missing from his wallet that was kept in the bag. The money, wrapped in a crumpled up bundle of newspapers, was found in the seat pocket at the business class section of the aircraft where Hu had moved to. He was later arrested.

The court heard that Zhang was seated behind the Briton when cabin crew saw him opening the overhead baggage compartment and taking the victim's black laptop bag. He placed the bag on his seat and rummaged through the contents before putting it back to its original place.

Nothing was stolen from Mr Swann. The two natives from Henan could each have been jailed for up three years and/or fined for theft.